Ukraine Ambassador on Why the U.N.’s Vote on Russia Issues

When the U.N. voted overwhelmingly in favor of condemning Russia’s unlawful annexation of Ukrainian territory, it was heralded by Ukraine and its allies as a victory. The result—143 members voting in favor of the decision to Russia’s lonely 5 towards—was a transparent indication that nations are selecting to aspect with Ukraine. “The world had its say,” Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky tweeted within the aftermath of the vote. “[The Russian Federation]’s try at annexation is nugatory and can by no means be acknowledged by free nations.”

Whereas the vote has essential symbolic worth, it’s unlikely to have an effect on the decision-making of Russian President Vladimir Putin or the state of the struggle, which can quickly enter its eighth month.

Sergiy Kyslytsya, the Ukrainian ambassador to the U.N., concedes that there are limits to what the worldwide physique can obtain by itself. “We’re coping with a rustic, we’re coping with a dictator, who can’t give a monkey’s” about worldwide rebukes, Kyslytsya tells TIME. Russia dismissed this week’s U.N. vote as a product of “unscrupulous Western blackmailers.”

However that doesn’t imply that the U.N. doesn’t matter. For Ukraine, particularly, the U.N. represents one of many solely worldwide boards whose deliberations are broadcast on-line for the world to see. “That’s why some international locations hate it,” says Kyslytsya. “As a result of they must take a place in entrance of all the world.”

Learn extra: A New U.N. Vote Shows Russia Isn’t as Isolated as the West May Like to Think

The tally of countries siding with Ukraine this week was much like the quantity that voted to sentence Russia’s invasion in a decision in March. However, there are dozens of nations which have opted to take an ostensibly impartial place, together with China and India, which had been amongst 35 abstentions. And regardless of the bulk, help for Ukraine on the U.N. is undermined by Russia’s place on the Safety Council, the 15-member physique tasked with making certain worldwide peace and safety. Moscow has retained everlasting member standing because the physique’s formation following World Struggle II. That standing affords, amongst different issues, the flexibility to veto any substantive resolutions delivered to the physique—an influence that Russia has used to great effect because the struggle started. Though some have referred to as for Russia to be removed, citing its flagrant violations of the U.N. Constitution in its invasion of Ukraine, such a transfer is with out precedent, and unlikely to succeed.

However even Russia’s everlasting Safety Council seat hasn’t been sufficient to masks Russia’s isolation, Kyslytsya says. “If there are a variety of nations who don’t help Ukraine, very predictably, they’ve by no means spoken in favor of the Russian invasion,” he says. “They’ve by no means spoken in favor of unlawful annexation.” Certainly, a number of of the international locations that opted to abstain on this week’s vote, akin to India, reaffirmed their respect for territorial integrity and sovereignty.

—With reporting by Simon Shuster

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